No, the day is not over yet. Insiders and beat writers are still working sources, GMs are still talking to agents, and players can certainly still say yes or no this evening. Martin Havlat signed late on July 1st a year ago, and something could still happen tonight. That said, as the hours tick down, the likelihood that the free agents want to sleep on the deals they have becomes greater.
With that in mind, let's look at the happenings from day one. Make the the jump, won't you?
- The first thing that jumps to mind is what the hell is Calgary doing? Alex Tanguay? Olli Jokinen? Really? Neither one of these guys did anything, anything at all, in their tenure's with the Flames. Tanguay had a good season in 06-07, moving at a point-per-game pace, however he dropped to just 58 points the following yer. Jokinen cost them Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust, and a first round pick. For that, the Flames got a total of 50 points over the course of two seasons.
But hey, they signed him for $2 million less than he cost them last year, so that's a bonus, right?
- Derek Boogaard signed with the Rangers. This was somewhat expected, at least that he would not be back with the Wild. The unexpected part? 4 years at $1.65 million per year. Boogey owes his agent a hug, dinner, and a bonus. Nine fights last year, and average of around 6 minutes of TOI. The Boogeyman is by far the most feared player in the NHL. The problem is that with the instigator rule, and Boogey's reputation, he is a liability more than an intimidation.
The numbers I shared on the free agency thread:
He had 350 1/2 minutes of TOI last season. At his new rate, that is $4707 per minute.
Compare that to:
Zidlicky: $2122 / minute
Koivu: $1958 / minute
Alexander Ovechkin: $4991
Yes. You read that correctly. Boogaard makes just $284 less per minute played than Alexander Ovechkin. Who would you rather have for that money?
Let me be absolutely clear on this. I like Derek Boogaard. Great guy, awesome player to have in your community. He deserves all the best, and I am more than happy that he got the deal he did. If someone offered you more than you are worth would you say no? I hope Boogey does well in New York, and I hope that I am wrong and he plays a regular shift. I just don't think I am.
- Vancouver has thrown down a gauntlet. Signing Dan Hamhuis after trading for Keith Ballard has made their defense much better than last year. They have become a better team, and the Wild either need to answer or fold up and admit they are rebuilding.
- People need to calm down about the big names. Ilya Kovalchuk has not signed yet. Big deal. He will. Just relax. When he does, you'll know it. Twitter will blow up, the fail whale will make his appearance, TSN will be re-tweeted 757,562 times in a matter of a minute. Trust me. You'll know. Relax.
- The Penguins suck. OK, not really, but I hate them a little bit today. After all of the build up about how they weren't going to do anything, Gonchar was leaving, things just can't happen... they signed Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. Dammit.
- The Wild haven't done anything. Yet. Russo says they are in on things. This is not, repeat not the same as years past. In the past, they may have put out an offer, but it likely was not even entertained. The Wild are in the thick of some things. Just because it hasn't happened yet does not mean it won't. Please, let go of the inferiority complex, grab a frosty beverage, grab a comfy seat, and take a big, deep breath. Things will happen. Again, one way or another, the Wild will skate a full team next season. I promise.
- As I typed the above paragraph, Matt Cullen has agreed to terms with the Wild. Go figure. More on that later.